Video: Bontrager Flash Charger Tubeless Pump

Designed with an extra air tank to store compressed air

Gear Video

Bontrager Flash Charger

Update: September 15

The Bontrager Flash Charger arrived at the Mtbr office and we experimented with it right away. We found a brand new tire and wheel tubeless combo that we couldn’t seal with a floor pump. So we charged up the Flash Charger with about 40 pump strokes, getting it to 160 psi. The pump is high quality and although the effort did increase with the pressure, the pump felt secure and consistent all the way to 160 psi. The handle is plastic so we could feel a bit of flex when pumping at the highest pressures.

We put the universal presta/schrader valve on and proceeded without pushing the tire to rim wall or applying any soap/sealant to help seal the tire. We released the air with the red lever and voila, it worked as advertised. We tried it on a second tire setup and it worked like a champ again. The shot of air is not unrestricted because of the universal presta/schrader head. But it worked on our first tests no problem. We’ll continue to test more combos in the future.

YouTube Preview ImageVideo: Sealing up a new tubeless rim and tire

The 160 psi charge sealed up a huge 29er tire to about 22 psi. And since the air chamber balances out with the tire pressure right away, one can just continue on pumping to further seal the tire or get to the desired pressure.

Originally Posted: August 1, 2014

Bontrager Flash Charger

One of the cool surprises we saw at Trek World in Madison, Wisconsin is the Bontrager Flash Charger tubeless floor pump. It retails for $120 and is designed with an extra air tank to store compressed air that can deliver a shot of air to seat tubeless tires.

Tubeless tires are all the rage right now but sealing some tire and rim combinations can be a difficult and frustrating task. Some combinations can be sealed by pumping furiously with a floor pump but many setups refuse to seal, specially on the first tire install. What is really needed is a shot of air to push the tire walls out and create a seal before the air escapes out. That’s why a compressor with a trigger valve is the fail-safe solution when sealing tubeless. But compressors can be bulky, noisy and expensive. And they can’t be taken out in the field where sealing jobs are sometimes necessary.

YouTube Preview ImageVideo: Pumping the tank to 160 psi and releasing the air

Bontrager came up with the Flash Charger pump after two years in development and it seems to be a good one. It’s a floor pump first and foremost and it works just like one when the auxiliary tank is in the open mode. But close the big red valve and the tank becomes an air storage unit where pressure can be built up. It took about 46 pump strokes to fill the reservoir to 160 Psi. And one flip of the red lever valve delivers a shot of air to seal up tubeless tires. The auxiliary tank will store all the air too and can be used at a later time.

Features:

  • Alloy barrel for smooth pump action
  • Auto-Select head effortlessly fits Presta or Schrader valves
  • Top-mounted 160 psi gauge
  • Three-arm base gives excellent stability
  • Inflates tubeless-ready tires without a compressor
  • MSRP: $120

For more information visit www.bontrager.com.

Video: Bontrager Flash Charger Tubeless Pump Gallery
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Bontrager Flash Charger

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • TJ says:

    I guess you could buy this….or you could just buy a small compressor for 1/3 of the price that works better and faster with no effort and is useful for 100s of other things as well – and can easily be used with a car adapter

  • Steve J says:

    For $120 why not just get an air compressor?

  • Al Clark says:

    It seats both wider 29″ tires as well as road tires. A brief manual come with it to describe how to best take advantage of its features.

  • charles jones says:

    But i just spent 60 dollars on a pump!

  • Joules says:

    That is a really good idea. I was just thinking about making a small, compressor-less tank for that very purpose: giving the tire that blast of air to get it to seat.
    I own a compressor, but its so loud (for apartment life), and charging a 10-gallon tank just to seat a tire seems such a waste.

  • FlyingDavinci says:

    2 years in development. What is so hard about attaching a tank and valve to a pump? I would of fired the R&D team after 2 weeks w/o a working prototype.

  • Andrew says:

    Well, I like it. I don’t want an air compressor in my car, I just want a pump that can seat tubeless tyres. This looks like it could potentially do the trick.

  • jezik says:

    here’s an idea, how about using your CO2 injector! work like a champ.

  • derby says:

    I like it…. Looks good for car camping too, when you don’t have electricity for your small electric compressor.

  • lolmaus says:

    How is this pump tubeless-specific? What is different about it?

    Can’t it be used to inflate tubed tires? Can’t normal pumps inflate tubeless tires?

    • Mtbr says:

      It can be used to pump up any tire, but the differentiating feature is the “Flash Charge” that stores a burst of air to seat tubeless tires which can be very hard to do with a traditional pump.

  • Chris says:

    What is the largest sized tire you tried? 29+? fat? Looks useful but is it big enough to pop a knard on a rabbit hole.

  • TyreGuy says:

    I tried this yesterday mounting a Bontrager Hodag 26×3.8 tire onto a Bontrager Jackalope, just centering the tire on the rim. The first time it didn’t work, but I tried pressing down a bit on the tire at the valve and it seated immediately with 7.5 psi in the tire.

  • Mark says:

    I like it.
    Air compressors are great. But when you partake in a sport that leads you into wilderness, power isn’t always a given.

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